Assessment being conducted to determine possible impact of El Niño

Works including an impact assessment are currently being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture to ascertain what preparations Guyana needs to withstand the effects of El Niño.

El Niño is a climate pattern whereby unusually warm ocean temperatures occur, influencing global weather patterns and causing shifts in precipitation and temperature patterns in different parts of the world.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

It is estimated that the phenomenon could cause losses of some US $3 trillion around the globe this year.

During a press briefing held at his office on Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown on Wednesday, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali stated that the assessment will help Guyana to determine how to keep the country’s water storage facilities at optimum level in preparation for the event.

“One of the things that we have to do is what we call Integrated Water Resource Management. So, water resource management becomes very important in situations like this, but it’s a very thin line between keeping the storage facility at an optimum level and having a one-off event where the intensity of rainfall is so high that we have seen, that being at an optimum level, creates other problems for flooding,” Dr. Ali explained.

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a process promoting the development and management of water, land, and related resources.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), it aims to maximise economic and social welfare equitably, without severely affecting the sustainability of vital ecosystems and the environment.

Early in June, the Hydrometeorological Service forecast that below-normal amounts of rainfall are expected across Guyana from July 2023.

While typically, continuous wetness and localised flooding persist until the end of July in many regions, the advisory issued by the Hydrometeorological Service stated, “The country is expected to begin transitioning into dry conditions by mid-July due to the influence of El Niño. At this stage, it is expected that El Niño will be the main driver of local weather for the remainder of the year.

“All of Guyana can expect warmer than usual (above-normal) day and night-time temperatures over the coming months. Temperatures are expected to be warmer when compared to the same period of previous years (and recent months). Dry days will be significantly warmer than wet days.”

The advisory further noted that water supply in conservancies, reservoirs, and inland rivers across all regions is expected to decrease after June.

The ongoing assessment will assist in determining to what extent Guyana will be hit by adverse weather conditions and mechanisms that can be put in place to mitigate losses.

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